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Politics / Gougeon takes on islands role in Scottish cabinet

FIRST minster Nicola Sturgeon has appointed Angus North and Mearns MSP Mairi Gougeon as the Scottish Government’s new cabinet secretary for rural affairs and islands.

Mairi Gougeon in Lerwick. Photo: Shetland News

The post includes responsibility for agriculture, food and drink policy, fisheries and aquaculture as well as cross-government coordination of policies for island communities.

The news was announced on Wednesday as Sturgeon reshuffled her cabinet following the recent election.

The post covering rural affairs and islands brings together elements of previous ministerial roles.

Paul Wheelhouse was formerly the minister for energy, connectivity and the islands, but he was not re-elected in May’s vote.

Gougeon was first elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2016, and she was appointed as minister for rural affairs and the natural environment two years later.

She was then given the minister for public health and sport role last year after the sacking of Joe FitzPatrick.

In other reshuffles John Swinney has been moved from education to a new Covid recovery role, while Humza Yousaf has been transferred from justice to health.

Michael Matheson has been given a new role as cabinet secretary for net zero, energy and transport.

Kate Forbes takes on an expanded brief as cabinet secretary for finance and the economy.

Sturgeon said: “It is a government which will drive Scotland forward, as we look to build a just, fair and sustainable recovery from the Covid pandemic.

“My cabinet team combines experience with new arrivals and fresh faces, giving us the range and depth of talent we need to tackle the pressing issues we need to tackle, from Covid to climate change.”